emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Definition of emotion

1a : a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
b : a state of feeling
c : the affective aspect of consciousness : feeling
b obsolete : disturbance

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Choose the Right Synonym for emotion

feeling, emotion, affection, sentiment, passion mean a subjective response to a person, thing, or situation. feeling denotes any partly mental, partly physical response marked by pleasure, pain, attraction, or repulsion; it may suggest the mere existence of a response but imply nothing about the nature or intensity of it. the feelings that once moved me are gone emotion carries a strong implication of excitement or agitation but, like feeling, encompasses both positive and negative responses. the drama portrays the emotions of adolescence affection applies to feelings that are also inclinations or likings. a memoir of childhood filled with affection for her family sentiment often implies an emotion inspired by an idea. her feminist sentiments are well known passion suggests a very powerful or controlling emotion. revenge became his ruling passion

Examples of emotion in a Sentence

a display of raw emotion The defendant showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She was overcome with emotion at the news of her friend's death.
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Recent Examples on the Web During his floor speech explaining his vote to convict Donald Trump, Mitt Romney was overcome by emotion and paused to compose himself. Mona Charen, National Review, "Mitt Romney: A Modern Man for All Seasons," 6 Feb. 2020 In times of crisis, a combination of heightened emotions and lack of information combine to create the perfect petri dishes for conspiracy theories: fearful minds. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "The Coronavirus Outbreak Is a Petri Dish for Conspiracy Theories," 4 Feb. 2020 Accepting the ups and downs of emotion is a key to better understanding yourself. Venus Australis, refinery29.com, "Your February Horoscope," 1 Feb. 2020 Miller often talked about wanting to have good days and bad days—to embrace the full and agonizing spectrum of human emotion. Time, "Mac Miller's Posthumous Album Circles Is a Heartbreaking Plea For Inner Peace," 17 Jan. 2020 Like the Renaissance paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo, the cards were full of emotion—and magic. National Geographic, "Explore tarot’s centuries-old history in Milan," 16 Jan. 2020 Not all the 49ers demonstrate that same outward level of emotion of Sherman, or show the sizzle on the sidelines, like Kittle and Saleh. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Bring on the Packers: 49ers’ Super Bowl dreams fueled by high-voltage energy," 12 Jan. 2020 Having seen what unfolded with Cowher on Saturday, Johnson — a two-time Super Bowl champion coach — immediately knew why Baker was visiting the set and grew overwhelmed with emotion. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Jimmy Johnson finds out he is a Hall of Famer with a great, live-on-TV surprise," 12 Jan. 2020 The best sports dramas understand that athletes channel their emotions into their work. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "Female Athletes Get New Representation on TV," 14 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'emotion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of emotion

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for emotion

Middle French, from emouvoir to stir up, from Old French esmovoir, from Latin emovēre to remove, displace, from e- + movēre to move

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Time Traveler for emotion

Time Traveler

The first known use of emotion was in 1579

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Statistics for emotion

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Emotion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emotion. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for emotion


How to pronounce emotion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of emotion

: a strong feeling (such as love, anger, joy, hate, or fear)


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Kids Definition of emotion

: strong feeling (as anger, love, joy, or fear) often accompanied by a physical reaction She flushed with emotion.


emo·​tion | \ i-ˈmō-shən How to pronounce emotion (audio) \

Medical Definition of emotion

1 : the affective aspect of consciousness
2 : a state of feeling
3 : a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body — compare affect

Other Words from emotion

emotional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce emotional (audio) \ adjective
emotionality \ -​ˌmō-​shə-​ˈnal-​ət-​ē How to pronounce emotionality (audio) \ noun, plural emotionalities
emotionally \ -​ˈmō-​shnə-​lē, -​shən-​ᵊl-​ē How to pronounce emotionally (audio) \ adverb

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